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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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India, for example, be attempting to expand the coverage of higher education to the U.S. level? Or to the western European level (which is very much lower)? Or to neither? Similar hard questions will need to be asked about programs to reduce fertility, particularly if governments break out of the usual reliance on family planning programs and begin to use some of the other more costly measures that have been proposed, such as incentive payments to couples for periods of nonpregnancy or nonbirths (81). In either case, the feedback between education and fertility decline is a relevant variable to be taken into account.
One thing is clear from the experience of countries such as India and the Philippines: Once the private returns from education are well recognized among the population at large, the government will find it difficult to control the expansion of education, particularly at the secondary and higher level, even if it wants to. If expansion of public education is too slow, private investment will step in to fill the vacuum, up to the point at which the returns from alternative investments appear more promising. There may be some value in having such a balance established in the market place, although a government with strong egalitarian sentiments would not normally favor leaving too large a share of education in the hands of the private sector, which almost invariably caters mainly to the children of the better-off. This is not only difficult to accept on egalitarian grounds but may also be economically suboptimal insofar as it substitutes education of the less intelligent children of the wealthy for education of the more intelligent children of the poor. However, schemes could be devised to lessen these disadvantages. For example, prospective employers might pay the costs of educating children who would then be committed to work for them for a given length of time;* or public or private agencies could make loans for education to be repaid gradually once the student began to work.'f"
Throughout the Third World, high rates of population growth are proving a barrier to the early attainment of the goals that have been set for quantitative and qualitative expansion of education. Population growth can be viewed either as a factor raising the cost of attaining given educational targets or as a factor stretching out the time period in which such targets can be reached if a ceiling is placed on expenditures. Although the experience of the last decade or two indicates that governments with a commitment to educational progress can expand the coverage of the education system despite population
*Disadvantages of this scheme would be its restrictions on mobility and the unlikelihood that it could be operated successfully at the high school level, the level at which most of the students from poor families drop out.
TThe possibility of such a scheme for Kenya is discussed in (82). a figure for the value of a prevented birth from such a model (78).